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Recruitment – it’s what’s on the inside that counts

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Recruitment – it’s what’s on the inside that counts

If you’ve ever interviewed anyone for a job, you’ll know that feeling you get when you meet someone and immediately know that they’re going to be a great ’fit’ for your organisation.

Sometimes the exact reason is hard to pinpoint – and it often isn’t about someone’s qualifications or experience alone – you just get that sense that they’re the one you’ve been looking for.

And that’s exactly the place you want to be, with someone sitting in front of you that ticks all your boxes and who you know will be an asset to the team. Reaching that point, however, isn’t always easy. The process of recruitment starts long before then and catching the eye of potential candidates and getting them to apply is an ongoing challenge across all sectors and industries.

So, what can comms teams do to help reach and encourage the right kind of people to apply?

The internal comms factor

We often talk about the importance of internal communications for engaging the workforce, making staff aware of changes, and raising awareness of important campaigns… but what about talent acquisition? What role does internal comms play in recruitment?

The interesting thing about recruitment is that it’s one of those places where internal and external comms meet. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense that you would talk to prospective employees in the same way that you do to existing ones.

In fact, internal comms can be a (not so secret) weapon in your hunt for new talent! One of the best ways to show people what a great place your organisation is to work, and the kind of people and culture you have, is to capture the voice of your existing workforce.

Who better to show what it’s really like behind closed doors, than the people who get to experience it day-in and day-out?

Influencers can be a powerful asset for internal communications and capturing their thoughts and views can be just as powerful for recruitment purposes and attracting the best candidates.

For instance, having a series of videos featuring people from different job roles and across all levels of the organisation, can provide prospects with a personal endorsement of what it’s really like to work there. This can be a super effective way to recruit other likeminded individuals.

Define your brand personality

Another key element in recruitment is employer branding. If you want to attract the right people to come and work with you, you need to have a deep understanding of your brand personality and to communicate it.

You’re effectively aiming to ‘sell’ a role to someone and just like you might sell a product or service to a customer, you need to impress. It needs be clear what the organisation is all about, and why this opportunity is one not to be missed.

Just be careful that what you are ‘selling’ is genuine – as no one likes a catfish! The reality must match up, otherwise people won’t stick around for long and recruitment and retention will always be an issue.

Living the brand

Way back in 1997, the Journal of Marketing Research published a study by Jennifer Aaker called the ‘dimensions of brand personality’. Despite being over 20 years old, it is still just as relevant as ever.

In a nutshell, it’s a framework that helps you breaks down a brand into relatable human characteristics. These five core dimensions are then divided into a set of facets.

  1. Sincerity (down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, cheerful)
  2. Excitement (daring, spirited, imaginative, up to date)
  3. Competence (reliable, intelligent, successful)
  4. Sophistication (upper class, charming)
  5. Ruggedness (outdoorsy, tough)

The idea is that you rate these personality traits on a scale from one to five – five being the best fit for your brand and one being the least. This can help you to eliminate the traits that aren’t relevant and identify the ones which are the most meaningful.

If we take Google as an example, they’re likely to position themselves in the excitement category and they absolutely have the same approach towards their staff, internal culture and comms. (We’ve all heard the stories about games rooms, slides and ball pits).

While as organisations we don’t all have the budgets of Google, that doesn’t mean we can’t be bold and defined in our own branding and culture. Indeed, some of the best ranked companies to work for are ones you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

Anglian Water was voted the best company in the UK to work for by jobs and recruitment site Glassdoor. The CEO puts this down to their health and wellbeing offering for staff – something they value highly, and which is a major contributing factor in defining their brand personality.

The organisations who know themselves, what they stand for and represent are successful because they maintain, live and breathe their personality through their actions. The way they communicate is genuine and they become trusted by existing staff, as well as becoming a more attractive place to work for prospective team members.

While internal and external comms teams may speak to different audiences and in a slightly different way, it all comes back to being a voice for the organisation’s core personality. Get that right and you’ll develop a workforce that is really invested in the brand – and this will help you attract more likeminded people. Then you may find yourself meeting more and more people in interviews, who are the perfect fit.

We’d love to hear what’s worked well for your organisation. What have been your most successful campaigns? Have you tried capturing and using your employee voices? Are there any campaigns you’ve seen others running that have really caught your eye? 

By Amy Archer at Creative Leopard for Alive!

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“We had the privilege to work with the Alive team. It was our first time to be involved in creating an animation for our patients within paediatrics. The team were approachable, friendly, creative and very accommodating. Your vision for what you want to create, is at all times acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by the team. They worked effectively and with great passion towards our project and worked not only alongside health professionals but also our patients who really enjoyed the experience of working with the Alive team. It has given our team the confidence and inspiration to do further projects in the future. We highly recommend Alive and their exceptional team.”

DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

“Our mission was to update our brand visuals to better reflect our innovative and forward-thinking organisation. After receiving numerous pitches from different branding agencies, Alive stood out with their clear passion and understanding of our identity and goals. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Alive Team to create an engaging new brand that we are immensely proud of.”

Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
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